Cinnabar Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports environmental conservation efforts in Montana and within the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Special project and general operating support grants are awarded annually.

FUNDING AREAS: Environmental conservation in Montana and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem

IP TAKE: The best opportunities for grantseekers new to Cinnabar are the special project grants. Just remember that these are matching grants and you’ll have to raise an equal amount from other sources to receive Cinnabar’s money.

PROFILE: The Cinnabar Foundation was established in 1983 to benefit Montana residents and their right to a clean and healthy environment. The legacy of Len and Sandy Sargent is designed to protect and restore the Cinnabar Basin region, home vast wildlife populations and the Yellowstone River.

Grants go to nonprofits, schools, and university programs related to conservation in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Specific conservation priorities are as follows: climate action, education and research, environmental advocacy, private land conservation, public lands, sustainable communities and agriculture, and water quality and fisheries. Generally, Cinnabar doesn't support equipment purchases, exhibits, film or publications, community gardens, greenhouses, or capital improvements.  

Special project grants and general operating support grants are awarded and offered on a competitive basis. You can apply for project grants, but operating grants are made by invitation only. General operating support has recently been awarded to the Five Valleys Land Trust, Great Burn Study Group, and the Montana History Center. These grants tend to be between $3,000 and $15,000. Recent special project grantees include Artemis Common Ground, Climate Smart Glacier County, and Ducks Unlimited. These grants are smaller and usually more like $2,000 to $5,000 each. Featured grantees and projects are listed here.

There is also a non-competitive program offering supplemental grants to constituent organizations. The funder does not accept applications for these grants, but rather makes money available to existing grantees as funds allow. Sargent Legacy Grants reward conservation work over the course of many years, and Tawney Opportunity Grants help groups meet unpredictable challenges and provide unanticipated bursts of energy to seize new opportunities.

Visit the funder’s Apply for a Grant page to learn about upcoming application deadlines. In the past, new information has been made available in December for the upcoming year’s grant cycle.

In a recent year, the funder had over $8 million in total assets. Current financial data can be viewed here. This year, the foundation received 126 challenge grant applications and awarded 68 grants to those applicants. The total number of grants awarded since 1983 exceeds 1,768, with total funds granted at more than $7.4 million.

The funder’s mailing address is P.O. Box 7323, Missoula, Montana, 59807. Keep up with the foundation in the news archive section of their website. This is where grant recipients are announced, as well as annual report releases and general news of interest.


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